While my father was and is the person I am heart and soul closest to in life, and Michael Sulsona long ago stopped being my friend because he is now my brother, it is my mother, born Leona Patricia Clark, who was my emotional and spiritual twin.
Inklings of this truth could be found like flecks of diamonds in the air,soon after we were reunited on January 8, 1987. My mother had to surrender me for adoption seven days after my birth on October 2, 1953. However, the first headline of this truth was brought to my attention by Paula, an extraordinary woman I was once married too.
It was days after our wedding in September 1991 and, unbeknownst to me, Paula was in the living room watching a video of our wedding. I was likely in another room writing or growling at a coffee maker to hurry up and make the damned coffee. Suddenly Paula called out, “Peter! Look at this!”
I went into the living room. Paula was rewinding the tape. “Watch this,” she said, pressing play on the remote. It was an over-the-shoulder shot of the minister, my first childhood friend, William Damrow. Paula and I were in the frame and behind us you could see our 30 or so guests. My mother, Virginia, was sitting in a chair on the far left and my mother, Leona, was standing on the far right of the gathering. It was the moment of our final vows and Pastor Damrow said, “Paula and Peter have asked that you hold hands with the person next to you during the next portion of their vows.”
And then it happened. Leona moved her way through the gathering until she reached my Virginia and took her hand in hers. My mothers held hands during our final vows.
“That’s you!” Paula said. “That’s where you get it from. How you see those moments in life, you get it from her.”
I got that and more from my mother, Leona, my spiritual and emotional twin, my familiar. Much more. From my mother, I got life. I can think of no greater gift.
Happy Mother’s Day, Mom.